Abraham Lincoln: Depression

Updated: Apr 22

by Cloe Gray, Ph.D., Senior Medical Writer at BioSerenity | Feb 15, 2022 | Neurology

Abraham Lincoln with Cats , Depression
Abraham Lincoln and Cat Therapy to Ease his Depression

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, had bouts of “melancholia”, as depression was known in the 19th century. His first bout of depression occurred when his first love, Ann Rutledge, died from typhoid fever. He had repeated bouts of depression during his life, including after the death of two of his sons and when he was leading the United States during the Civil War. During these periods of depression, he would take to his bed and talk of committing suicide.

Perhaps as a coping mechanism, Lincoln developed a love of cats, and was known to play with them, even feeding one from the table at a state dinner. When his wife Mary Todd Lincoln was asked what hobbies the President had, she replied, “cats”. Perhaps the president engaged in some form of pet therapy to help his depression?


Depression, also called major depressive disorder, is an affective disorder characterized by feeling sad, losing the ability to feel pleasure in everyday activities, disordered sleep, and in some cases suicidal thoughts. The root cause of depression is unknown, but it is thought that a genetic predisposition, changes in neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, and stressful or unpredictable life circumstances are all factors that can contribute to a person becoming depressed. Depression is typically treated with medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and therapy.

How can BioSerenity help with the diagnosis of depression?

BioSerenity is developing remote diagnostics and physiologic signal recording to help in the detection of depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Our goal is to provide a portable, ambulatory diagnostic device to allow screening and biomarker analysis of physiologic parameters consistent with these affective disorders.

About BioSerenity

Headquartered in Paris, France and Atlanta, GA, USA, BioSerenity is an innovative med tech company and leader in Tech based Healthcare as a Service. We focus on Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and producing real-world evidence in Neurology, Sleep Medicine, and Cardiology. BioSerenity offers diagnostic solutions to healthcare providers and patients in the USA, Europe and Caribbean.

BioSerenity is also the preferred provider for several Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and prominent university medical facilities across the US, France, and other parts of the world.

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